September 9, 2023

FG hints at digitalization of healthcare system

Mohammed Ali Pate

…to also unify PHCs, FMCs’ records by rolling out Nat’l Electronic Medical Record  Platform 

By Joseph Erunke, ABUJA

The federal government has disclosed its intention to digitalize the nation’s healthcare system for effective healthcare services to the Nigerians.

The government aslo hinted at its plan to unify all medical records of primary healthcare centres and federal medical centres in the country, through the introduction of what it called 

National Electronic Medical Record  Platform.

Speaking at a ministerial press briefing held on Saturday evening in Abuja, both the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate and the Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Tunji Alaisan, explained that the measures had been adopted to give citizens the desired medical care.

To this end, they encouraged each state government to use the same platform once implemented.

“There will be a lot of things we will be doing in governance one of which is accountability. We will work collaboratively with all the stakeholders.

“We will digitalize our healthcare system. We will embark on the digitalization of our healthcare system because in this age,if you don’t have data, validated data, it’s just like still being in the dark. We need to make sure that the data we collect are accurate, they are validated,they can be trusted internally and locally. That will be used to deliver healthcare to our people.

“When we have validated data that we can trust,we can begin to see the indices where you are getting better,where you are doing well and where you are not doing well and then,you can direct your interventions to improving those outcomes.

“As part of the digitalization of our healthcare system,we are going to roll out a National Electronic Medical Record  Platform where our primary health care centres and our federal medical centres will come on this same platform.

“As we move into the future,we encourage each state government to use the same platform. Once we have a unified electronic record platform,it becomes easy to start the process of data where you see patients and you can now begin to share data. 

“Somebody that went to LUTH today and let’s say one or two months later,presents himself at Federal Medical Centre ,Ebute Metta,they don’t need to repeat all the test they have done,those tests that were done two,three months ago are available,”the Minister of State for Health,Dr Tunji Alaisan, explained.

He spoke further on their plans for the nation’s healthcare system:”As we continue to build on the digitalization of our healthcare system,one of the things we are going to be doing differently is also the way we regulate our healthcare system.

” We have to hold our healthcare facilities more accountable,we have to hold our providers,physicians, nurses more accountable. The way our healthcare system is being regulated now is very fragmented,we have to consolidate and unify our regulatory system.”

Speaking on research,the minister,who regretted that the nation’s research institutions were at the moment working independently, said government would rejig them to work collaboratively.

Hear him:”Right now,we have our research institutions and everybody is working independently. We will rejig out research institutions,make them work collaboratively and get them to do what they are meant to do. 

“We have a lot of professors in the academia that are struggling ,they are just by themselves,no resources for them to support their research projects. And as professors,less than 50 percent of your work should just be teaching students in classroom, it’s lifelong dedication to research .

“We will unleash our clinical research , traditional research and basic research, we would put more money into research. As we do more research,we will begin to be independent on the pharmaceuticals,on their medical devices and even on the way we put standard operating procedure and policy together and we will know which drug works better and which one that is not working better. We will be really moving out research process into a more robust,focused and directional platform here.”

While noting that “Nigerians desearve a good health care system”,he said:”That is what President Bola Tinubu has mandated us to do and we have to do this.”

” it’s an assignment, it’s a commitment and it’s an agreement that he made with the people of Nigeria. He has given us the task,we can’t afford to fail him and we can’t afford to fail Nigerians,”he added.